Worth upgrading MB or waiting?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by malman89, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    This is probably a silly post and more of a thinking out loud situation, but here I am.

    I have a pretty old laptop -

    Late 2006 (bought early '07) Intel C2D 2.0 GHz White MacBook
    500 GB 7200rpm HD (originally 80 GB 5400rpm)
    1 GB 667 MHz RAM
    Running OS X 10.5.8

    Just wondering whether or not it would be worth upgrading to 4 GB RAM from OWC/some reseller or not. Would it boost performance enough to be worth the $60-65 investment? At minimum, I'd like my laptop to last another 10 months.

    Ideally, I'd be able to squeak through 2012 with it. Really looking to hold off until Ivy Bridge CPUs and/or the Ultrabook market matures to purchase a new computer (most certainly a laptop). I just graduated from college and am working full time, but not necessarily making a load of money, so I can't jump on a new machine just yet. Part of me just worries about my laptop blowing up on me before I can make the investment worth the (slight financial) hassle.
  2. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    I think it's worth it. It'll give you a speed boost, but it won't be as big as dropping an SSD into the MacBook. You've been running on 1GB RAM for a while so I'm going to assume you don't do anything CPU/GPU intensive, so 4GB of RAM should be enough to hold you until mid/late 2012.

    If you can spend about $300, I'd buy a small SSD and one of those datadoublers on Amazon so you can have both hard drives installed if you don't use your optical drive much. Then when you upgrade to a new MBP, you can use the SSD in that one. But if you really don't want to spend more than $60-70 on the computer, just upgrade the RAM and you should be able to make it until 2012.
  3. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    DEFINITELY worth it. And don't feel like you have to buy "Mac" memory - memory is memory; just make sure to get a good brand of DDR2-667MHz (should run around $40 on Newegg). Personally, I like Crucial, Corsair, and PNY.

    And if I may, I suggest another cheap upgrade - Snow Leopard. Its $29 from Apple (still available online at least) and it makes a noticeable difference. That's still a very useable system; biggest hurt is the crappy GMA950 graphics card, but if you're not doing anything particularly graphics-heavy it should suffice for another year or more.

    EDIT: Ok, so the price is a little higher than I remember... but $45 for 4GB ain't bad.
  4. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    Do it.

    If you're able to do everything you need to now, adding RAM will speed things up and will extend the useful life of the laptop.
  5. The-Pro, Nov 3, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Definitely upgrade the RAM!! Don't want to spoil anything here but its stupid if you spend more money than needed because your macbook only supports 3GB of RAM. (1x2GB and 1x1GB) just so you know. :)

    Not that easy sadly. His macbooks optical drive uses the Ultra ATA/100 (running at Ultra ATA/66) interface. So without an interface adapter on top of that it wont work. Also that it very slow, the 7200 rpm HDD is quicker than the max transfer speed of Ultra ATA/66. So he would have a slow second HDD and a "quickish" SSD (only SATA I (1.5Gbps))
  6. Coerce macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011

    I did a similar thing a few months ago. I have a late 06 macbook (core duo). After abit of research, i decided to take the plunge and spend the extra £100ish and upgrade all i could on it to tide me over until a new purchase in 2012. I added a 60GB SSD (£80), installed Snow Leopard (from Tiger, £20) and added a cheap optibay caddy from China (£10). It was the best decision I could have made! It boots in ~15 seconds, apps are instant, etc etc and I still have files handy rather than carry an external. Performance in general has improved with the OS, and the page ins/outs are easier to cope with on the SSD (only 2GB RAM).

    I'd have to disagree with The-Pro, though they're right about the PATA interface on the optical drive, as far as I'm aware it should be (what was) the latest PATA standard of 133MB/s, which is roughly equivalent to the 150MB/s you have already with SATA I. Also, I didn't think the performance of a 7200rpm drive could even saturate SATA I? Therefore it seemed to make sense to me to buy the PATA/SATA optibay as I wouldn't loose anything in terms of performance/bottlenecks on this spec Macbook, but would gain SSD speed, which is still considerable even with SATA I.

    Also, when it comes to a purchasing a new machine, you can always take the SSD with you to the new machine, or you'd get your money back that you spent on it/help the resale value if you just sell it with the old machine.

    I hope this helps!
  7. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Sounds pretty good what you did! :)
    Sadly they didn't use the latest Ultra ATA interface. It uses Ultra ATA/100 which however only runs at Ultra ATA/66. I have just researched and Ultra ATA/66 is capable of 66.7MB/s. I thought it was slower but I was wrong. A 7200 rpm drive will max that out.It it more than quick enough however. So I now change my advice. It will be quick enough for a HDD :D
    Thanks for writing that btw. I got some number and names mixed up which is why posted that.

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